How to Store a Mattress the Right Way

New mattress lying on wooden floor next to houseplant to be stored

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

According to the latest U.S. Census data, 31 million Americans moved during 2019. That's a lot of mattresses to move and store. Since mattresses are not inexpensive to purchase—especially in queen and king sizes—it is important to handle them correctly during a move (whether to a new home or into storage) and store them properly to help them maintain their usability.

What You Need to Move and Store a Mattress

Supplies

  • Mattress bag or heavy plastic
  • Packing tape
  • Scissors
  • Large pieces of heavy cardboard (optional)

Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Furniture dolly
  • Rope or ratchet straps (optional)
Materials and tools to move and store a mattress

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

How to Move a Mattress

  1. Measure Twice

    Not every mattress is a standard size. Use a measuring tape to help determine the best moving path, the correct mattress bag size to purchase, and the storage space needed. Measure the width, length, and depth (thickness) of both the mattress and support springs or box spring, if you have one.

    Corner of mattress with yellow measuring tape to measure for mattress bag size

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  2. Clear a Path

    Before you lift the mattress off the bed, make sure that you have a clear moving path. Mattresses are unwieldy and accidents can happen if you are tripping over lamp cords, furniture, or boxes. Also, make sure that walls are clear of framed pictures and decorative accents that can be damaged if hit by a large mattress.

    Floor lamp plugged into wall outlet

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  3. Use a Mattress Bag

    Mattress bags are made of heavy-duty plastic to protect your mattress from dust and dirt during a move. The bags are sold in standard sizes—twin, double, queen, king—and available in a package of one or two, so one can be used for the box spring. If you have an extra thick mattress, buy a larger size to be sure the mattress will fit.

    Slide the bag over the mattress and secure it with packing tape.

    Mattress back covering corner of mattress closeup

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  4. Don't Go It Alone

    Except for crib mattresses and perhaps a twin mattress, you need an extra pair of hands to move a mattress. Trying to do it alone can result in damaged walls or a torn mattress.

    Two sets of hands moving mattress on wooden floor

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  5. Position the Mattress Correctly

    Since most mattresses will not fit through a doorway when lying flat, flip the bag-covered mattress onto its side so it is longer than it is tall.

    Mattress in clear mattress bag stacked on its side and leaning on wall

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  6. Move Securely

    If you have a furniture dolly to help with the move, use heavy ropes or ratchet straps to secure the mattress to the dolly. You can also use a large sheet of heavy cardboard under the mattress to slide it along carpeted floors and stairs. If you are moving across hardwood floors, do not drag the mattress along the floor, or you'll leave marks.

    Mattress placed on furniture folly and secured with orange rachet straps for moving

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  7. Transport Correctly

    If the move is a quick one across town, most mattresses will not be harmed by the position they have in the moving van. However, if the move is a long one or the mattress will be stored for more than a week, follow these basic guidelines for positioning the mattress:

    • Memory foam or hybrid mattress: Place flat on a flat surface with nothing placed on top of it.
    • Innerspring or encased coil mattress: Move on its side or flat on a flat surface. Do not place items on top of the mattress.
    • Box spring: Position on its side or flat. The mattress can be placed flat on top of the flat box spring.

    Always secure the mattress firmly in place with ropes or ratchet straps to the side of the moving van or the flat surface. Never place boxes or heavy furniture on top of the mattress.

How to Store a Mattress

Whether you are storing a mattress in an attic, a storage container, a storage facility, or communal space, follow these steps to protect your investment so the mattress can be used again.

  1. Clean the Mattress Before Storing

    Mattresses hold dead skin cells and dust mites and absorb our body oils and sweat each night. These oils can become rancid and create hard-to-remove odors if left in the mattress or exposed to high heat for a length of time. Clean the mattress yourself or have it professionally cleaned before storing it. Make a plan so that the mattress is thoroughly dry before storage.

    Check the mattress for bed bugs and dispose of it properly if the insects are found.

  2. Avoid Heat and Humidity

    When choosing a space for mattress storage, avoid damp basements, hot attics, or any space that is not temperature-controlled or has unconditioned air. If you must use an unconditioned space, check the mattress often for signs of mildew damage.

  3. Keep the Mattress and Box Springs in Mattress Bags

    Never store a mattress uncovered. If you did not use a mattress bag during the move to the storage site, place the mattress in one for storage. Make sure that the bag is completely sealed with packing tape to keep dust and insects from reaching the mattress or box springs.

  4. Position the Mattress Correctly in Storage

    Mattresses should be stored flat with nothing placed on top. Heavy furniture or boxes will compress the mattress, and it will not bounce back.

    Never store a mattress on its side for an extended period of time. A mattress is designed to lie flat, and storing it on its side can damage the integrity of the internal structure. This rule applies to foam, hybrid, gel, or spring coil mattress types. If you have no choice but to store the mattress on its side, rotate it to the other side every 30 days.

    Storing Mattress Toppers

    Mattress toppers can be rolled and stored in a plastic bag or moving box during the move. During lengthy storage periods, unroll them to lie flat on the mattress and cover with plastic sheeting or a bedsheet.